Spousal Conflict and Divorce
The optimal balance between keeping marriages intact, despite spousal conflict, and allowing for divorce is a subject of policy debate in the United States. To explore the trade-offs, I construct a structural model with information asymmetries, which may generate inefficient outcomes. Parameters are estimated using data from the National Survey of Families and Households. I find that eliminating separation periods decreases the conflict rate by 9.2% of its baseline level and increases the divorce rate by 4.0%. Perfect child support enforcement decreases the frequency of conflict and divorce by 2.7% and 21.2%, respectively, and reduces the incidence of inefficient divorces.
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